Finding a new approach to Portland's gang problem: A conversation with Connected founder John Canda
Earlier this month, nearly 100 Portlanders gathered in Jefferson High School's cafeteria to talk about their concern over gang violence in Portland. Those concerns are not without foundation - 2011 has seen a rise in gang violence that includes a 14-year-old shot in the head near the Lloyd Center mall, the shooting of six teens in North Portland after a football game and the death of 13-year-old Julio Cesar Marquez, the city's youngest gang-related homicide. Even the police, after years of trying to suppress gang activity through expanded, more aggressive enforcement, admit law enforcement is at best a "band aid" to the problem.
This week on Voices from the Edge, Jo Ann and Dave talk with long-time gang outreach worker John Canda about what it will take to tackle Portland's gang problem. Canda is the founder of Connected, an organization that seeks to, in Canda's words, "get moms and dads off the couches and into the streets where their kids are..." Canda believes the presence of adults in the city's "hot spots" can act as a deterrent to violence as well as provide the opportunity to start building new relationships that can address the underlying causes for the existence of gangs. Can getting "connected" with Portland's youth have an impact? Join us in the conversation.
Jo Ann Hardesty is a former state legislator, former executive director of Oregon Action and past board president of Portland Community Media as well as a long-time leader in the struggle for racial and economic justice. Dave Mazza is a freelance journalist and former editor of The Portland Alliance who has covered and been involved in Portland's civil rights, environmental, labor and peace movements for over 20 years
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